Introduction: As a brand, Fiat has not managed to scale the heights in India, which they have managed in other countries. Here, they do have a brand following, but they fail to attract a larger share of new car buyers, mostly due to problems with spares, after sales, old models, etc. But, that is a thing of the past. The company is now into a revival mode. Not only they have launched new products this year, they have also improved service network and dealership experience, while spares are now easily available.
This year, Fiat India started with the launch of new Linea sedan, which followed by new Punto Evo, and the most recent one being, Avventura, which was launched yesterday. Fiat considers Avventura a very important launch for their success in India, and that is why India was chosen as the first country where Avventura was launched. It is from here, that Avventura will be exported to other markets.
Exteriors: Based on the Punto Evo, Avventura has same overall design and shape, but with a sporty character. At the front you will find same shaped headlights, same grille, etc. What changes at the front, is the bumper. Compared to the Punto Evo, Avventura gets plastic cladding and an underbody protector. It also has done away with chrome encasing for fog lights.
Moving on to its side, the plastic cladding continues to flow from the front to the side as well, giving the wheel arches a more prominent contour, and an overall wide body feel. Apart from this, on the lower side of the doors, you will also find an even thicker plastic cladding, with the name ‘Avventura’ engraved.
Side OVRVMs are same as in Punto, and so is the window lines. Chrome handle have done away with black ones, keeping up with the overall look and feel of the car. From the side, the other prominent feature noticeable, is the stylish roof rails. Just like the Punto, Avventura too has 16 inch alloys.
Moving to its rear, here is where the biggest update or the one factor which easily differentiates Avventura from Punto lies, the tailgate mounted rear spare wheel. This is also the single-most factor which gives Avventura a crossover look.
This spare wheel attachment on to the rear hatch is not like any conventional unit out there in the market today. Actually, the spare wheel is not mounted on the rear hatch, but it is supported via solid steel swing arm, which is attached on to the chassis. As Fiat engineers didnt want to change the overall design of rear hatch, they decided on this type of arrangement.
At first, we thought that there will be vibrations because of this, but there were none. The attachment is solid. Opening the rear hatch is a little bit tedious. In order to open the rear hatch, you will have to first press a button on the center dash (or your key), then come to the rear, press the handle bar to open the swing arm lock, and out comes the rear spare wheel. make sure you push all the way to the back, otherwise the rear hatch will scratch the rear spare tyre’s cover. After this, you can open the rear hatch.
Closing is another story. The rear hatch gets closed normally, like in any other hatch. But then moving the spare wheel back, is a little problem. You will again have to press the handle bar, to bring it out from its locked position, and then push it hard on to the rear hatch. And that will take care of it. Locking it in a slow manner won’t help. It will only close if you slam. Also, spare wheel can only be removed with a special tool, which can be found inside the tool box, that is placed under boot cover.
Interiors: These are same as that of Punto Evo. Same design, same layout, everything same. What is different, is the addition of three new dials just above the centre AC vents. These display direction (compass), front-rear incline degrees, and right-left incline degrees. These aren’t really useful, but you don’t mind to have them.
The instrument panel is again same as Punto Evo. Consisiting analogue and digital display, it offers a range of vital information like range, average speed, fuel efficiency, trip meter, door open indicator (which one as well), average speed, trip meter, outside temperature, etc.
The seats continue with the same design, but look more premium due to colour combination matching that of the car’s exterior. Seat comfort is decent, they offer enough cushion.
Legroom and head room are also not a problem, unless you are tall (anything above 6 feet) and seated in the rear. Though there is room for three at the, travelling with three adults might be uncomfortable. Boot space stays same at 280 liters like the Punto Evo. The extra space, which is because removal of spare wheel, is used for tool box.
Storage space inside the car is present, but it small. Glove box is small, door has less space, no place to keep 1 liter bottles, etc. Air condition takes more time than expected to cool the car, and if you are driving on a hot day, you will have to keep the blowers on full speed. Rear AC vents come in handy, but they are offered only on the top end variant.
Engine and Mileage: Once again, engine options too are same. Petrol Avventura gets 1.4L FIRE 4 cyl engine mated to a 5 speed manual gearbox, generating 90 PS @ 6000 rpm and 115 Nm @4,500 rpm. Diesel Avventura gets 1.3l MultiJet mated to 5 speed gearbox generating 93 PS @ 4000 rpm and 209 Nm @ 2000 rpm. Only front wheel drive is available, and there are no plans to launch a 4WD variant. Mileage claimed for petrol is 14.4 kmpl, while for diesl is 20.5 kmpl. What we managed to achieve was 9 kmpl for petrol and 13 kmpl for diesel.
Performance and Handling: There is not much to talk about performance. The engine feels under-powered. In diesel, turbo takes time to kick in, making it difficult in stop and go traffic. But once you are out on the highway, driving the diesel is fun. Overtaking manoeuvres are done swiftly, no need to downshfit. On the other hand, petrol has a better performance at stop and go traffic, but on the highways, it can only be enjoyed in the peak band, which kicks in after 4,500 rpm. In order to enjoy the petrol variant, you need to stay in the high rev range.
Another thing to mention here, there is a dead pedal. This can be a problem at the start, as it comes in the way when you are going for the clutch. It will take time getting used to it.
Handling is not bad. The car is comfortable taking corners and bumpy roads. Especially during bad roads, this car handles surprisingly well, and not like other hatchback turned crossovers in the segment. Avventura in this regard, is very much like a crossover. Steering feedback is very impressive, easily one of the best in the segment. All this together, keeps you craving more from the engine. There is one thing though, our petrol car for review, passed on engine vibrations on to the steering wheel at low rpms, this was not found in diesel variant.
Verdict: Fiat Avventura looks great on the road, interiors are premium, features are decent, build quality is good, safety features are in place, and bad roads are handled with ease. All in all, the car is made for Indian road conditions. Fiat Avventura is more of a crossover, compared to competition from Volkswagen Cross Polo and Toyota Etios Cross, but its the underpowered engines which are a downer. Only if Fiat came out with more powerful engines. But even then, the looks are enough to get the sales chart ticking.
Why would you consider Fiat Avventura
– Ride Quality
Why would you not consider Fiat Avventura
Fiat Avventura Price (ex-showroom, Delhi)
Petrol Active – Rs 5.99 lakhs
Petrol Dynamic – Rs 7.05 lakhs
Diesel Active – Rs 6.89 lakhs
Diesel Dynamic – Rs 7.65 lakhs
Diesel Emotion – Rs 8.17 lakhs